One way or another, the West Indies got rid of South Africa's previous four century-makers in the series by mid-afternoon only to find a pair of lesser batsmen in equally uncompromising mood on the opening day of the third Test at Newlands yesterday.
Jacques Rudolph and Neil McKenzie, both under pressure for their places, came together at 162 for 3 with Herschelle Gibbs, Graeme Smith and Gary Kirsten all out and Jacques Kallis temporarily retired with a badly bruised right forearm after a blow from the fast bowler Fidel Edwards.
They added 142 in comfort before the West Indies recovered ground by dismissing both of them and the nightwatchman, Paul Adams, in the last four overs for four runs as South Africa reached 308 for 6.
Rudolph, the 22-year-old left-hander in his 10th Test, compiled a chanceless 101 with 13 fours, while McKenzie's contribution was 76.
The debutant left-arm wrist-spinner Dave Mohammed, dismissed both in successive overs. Rudolph was lbw sweeping, and McKenzie's indecisive defensive shot in Mohammed's next over went on to the stumps off the inside edge.
After South Africa, already 2-0 up, won the toss for the third time in the series, Gibbs and the captain, Smith, put on 70 but both fell to the fast bowler Adam Sanford. Kallis retired hurt on 23, and Edwards claimed Gary Kirsten to an uppercut catch to third man.
First day of five; South Africa won the toss
SOUTH AFRICA - First Innings
G C Smith c Lara b Sanford 42
H H Gibbs c Jacobs b Sanford 33
J A Rudolph lbw b Mohammed 101
J H Kallis retd hurt 23
G Kirsten c Sanford b Edwards 16
N D McKenzie b Mohammed 76
P R Adams b Edwards 0
M V Boucher not out 0
S M Pollock not out 2
Extras (b2 lb3 nb10) 15
Total (for 6, 90 overs) 308
Fall: 1-70, 2-90, 3-162, 4-304, 5-305, 6-305.
To bat: M Ntini, A Nel.
Bowling: Drakes 18-5-39-0; Edwards 18-3-69-2; Sanford 21-3-82-2; D R Smith 2-0-4-0; Mohammed 21-4-70-2; Gayle 10-0-39-0.
West Indies: C H Gayle, D Ganga, R R Sarwan, *B C Lara, W W Hinds, D R Smith, ÝR D Jacobs, V C Drakes, D Mohammed, A Sanford, F H Edwards.
Umpires: D J Harper (Aus) and S Venkataraghavan (Ind).
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